The best way to make a cut flower indulgence more down to earth is to keep track of what local producers are bringing to market. The Peonies above are most definitely out of season, but those Sweet Peas can be found locally. Right now you can potentially find these 10+ choices from a local grower or florist in your area.First row:
1. Tree Peonies are not in, but the Sweet Peas are, and they come in so many incredible colors.
2. Although lavender products are a year-round find, this is the time to get fresh-harvested bouquets.
3. Snapdragons, with clever flowers that close like coinpurses
4. Sunflowers, of which there are many varieties big and small
5. Oriental Lilies of all varieties are out through the summer, as are Cannas and Callas
6. These bouquets, made by The River Garden, have a particularly beautiful purple Salvia making the yellows in the Rudbeckia and Zinnias pop.
7. This image of a Dahlia does not do these flowers justice, or speak of the untold variety that is out there from now through fall.
8. This white flower with the misty foliage is Cosmos, always a favorite.
10. Echinops, another favorite, commonly called Globe Thistle because of its shape.
12. Gloriosa Lilies
The third row is a bit aspirational—I rarely see cut Passiflora. But the plants are blooming away now and the blossoms are captivating. Gloriosa Lilies also are a luxury flower at the florist, but can be grown up here in the Northeast and enjoyed in the warm months. I also do not see Hollyhocks cut often, but they are similar in stature to the Gadiolus, which can be found by the armful.
There is an abundance to enjoy in the summer months (and the group above is just a sample), but like all things seasonal these flowers will also become a rarity once colder weather comes along. So even if I am not buying, I am definitely looking and smelling and taking them in.
As for what is 'out,' be suspicious of Tulips or any other spring bulbs like Daffodils, Fritillarias, and Hyacinths. They already had their time! Same with Peonies. Roses, Hydrangeas, Poppies, Lilies and many other flowers can be local, but even in the summer they are shipped from all over the world. Many florists source locally when they can, so it's always good to ask if they know where the flowers came from.
Matt writes a weekly column on plants, flowers and gardening. Feel free to e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Images: Matthew Noiseux)